Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Mayo report on addressing the worldwide tobacco epidemic through effective, evidence-based treatment

Report of an expert meeting, March 1999, Rochester (Minnesota) USA

IV. Conclusion

International gains in tobacco treatment start as a national commitment that reaches into the lives of individual tobacco users. This effort might involve coalitions and cooperation among health professionals, educators, journalists and entertainers, governments, researchers, and policy-makers. For the individual tobacco user, tobacco-free health might start with a question from a caregiver, such as a midwife or a dentist, leading to a life-lengthening commitment to tobacco abstinence. In the process of achieving and maintaining that abstinence, the tobacco user may need to draw on many resources, such as groups of other persons quitting tobacco, medications, and publications that provide information and encouragement.

Tobacco users must not be left to attempt to cease on their own without assistance and treatment, no matter how few resources a country or community may have. The first steps toward providing treatment might be relatively simple ones, such as instructing nurses in helping patients who smoke, including information about tobacco in course-work for dental hygienists, challenging physicians to stop using tobacco, encouraging counsellors to bring together tobacco users for group discussions, or recommending that pharmacists assist those using treatment medications. With the momentum of leagues of professionals and a committed worldwide public health community, tobacco dependence treatment can save many millions of lives.